The Batesville Intermediate School’s Junior Ambassadors program recently wrapped up their annual fundraiser –students raised over $7,000 in one week for Save The Children –the funds are specifically going to help youth in sub-Saharan Africa. According to Karen Kaiser, head of the Junior Ambassadors program, “We gave each student a goal to collect $10 in hopes that we would collect $4,600. In the end, we collected over $7,000!”
“Honestly, it just seemed like with every new goal, the area of the world that was the most challenged was the sub-Saharan region of Africa,” explained Kaiser, via email, on how the Junior Ambassadors settled on Africa as the region they wanted to help. “At one point,” Kaiser elaborated, “one Junior Ambassador said, ‘We really need to do something to help them. ’I think the kids focused in on children because they were thinking that if they helped the youth, that might help the problem more long-term.”
This is the second year BIS has offered the Junior Ambassadors program, which revolves around the study of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions and creating partnerships to meet those goals, worldwide. Twenty-two fourth and fifth grade students are in the Junior Ambassadors this year. Kaiser explained how the program works, saying, “fter studying the Goals, students work in small groups to put together presentations to deliver to the other students at BIS. Each year, the Junior Ambassadors organize some community and global service projects.”
Here’ what students have to say about being in the program:
• Reagan Flaspohler, fifth grade: “Junior Ambassadors means an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. It is also a way to know what is going on in the world and try to help fix it. The kids want to help. Every time I go into the class, they are ready to learn. They want to fix the world and make it a better place for the next generation. I can feel they want to help. I can’ wait for what the 2nd graders next year to be able to learn.”
• Payton Yorn, fifth grade: “hen I started Jr. Ambassadors I was confused and kind of scared to present in front of kids. Now every morning I come to Jr. Ambassadors and learn something new and get to share it with others! Jr. Ambassadors is to teach and educate people about the goals so that we can try to achieve the goal. We all come up with great ideas to improve the goals. We came up with the idea to chalk the walk with a donation to help kids in Africa. Then for something fun to do after I learn we are doing a chalk walk. I love to teach others about important things.”
• Addison McGuire, fifth grade: “Ever since I was told I would be allowed to join Jr. Ambassadors, I started to jump up and down. Jr. Ambassadors is so fun and educational. It teaches us students the importance of taking care of others and how to achieve that. Whether you are in Jr. Ambassadors or not you will learn about each and every goal.”
Last year, Junior Ambassadors organized a read-a-thon to raise money to build a school in Africa and also collected “Cents for Seniors,” using donated funds to make Christmas ornaments to be delivered to local nursing homes. “There was enough money”from Cents for Seniors, “to be able to do a second project for our local seniors,” Kaiser said –the second project will have students decorating flowerpots later this month.